If you are one of us who are using apps and websites to lean new languages, you are using or are familiar with Duolingo. I’ve been an evangelist and heavy user of Duolingo for the past 4-5 years. I recently had a 265+ day consecutive learning streak. I’ve used Duolingo to get me closer to near fluency in German. This past Spring, I started using the app to learn Spanish and Dutch. Duolingo is highly popular language learning app.
That was Duolingo up until the past month, when Duolingo released a new update, which featured a modified UX that forced all learners to use a linear path. It’s horrible from both a UX standpoint and from a language learning standpoint. People require flexibility in their learning style and the update forces the CEO’s vision on all users of the app. The app is not intuitive to use, other than you are forced to press some Candy Crush icons in order. Users of the app are up in arms, with many canceling their subscriptions, many posting complaints and pleadings to Twitter, and some of us ending our streaks. The company has been mostly silent.
I don’t want to get into the UX changes or discuss the in-game micro-transactions that appear to be the modus operandi of this update. I want to list the alternatives that I will be exploring. My plan is to post updates here about my explorations of these alternatives.
Reading more newspapers and text in the language – I had decided before getting the Duolingo update that I needed to spend more time reading German original sources like newspapers and magazines. I need to increase my vocabulary. I need to write more in German. I’ve already been watching more German videos on Youtube.
Memrise – Feels like a combination of old Duolingo and more conversational tests.
Lingodeer – Has a tree system similar to the old Duolingo. Feels like Duolingo.
Busuu – Tree structure. Very audio focused. Listen to language and see text.
Dreaming Spanish – Focus is on language immersion through immersion in conversational videos.
Lingopie – Watch TV and movies in the language you are learning
Mango – Claims that it features an adaptive learning process, so it decided based on what you know, what you should learn. Listening and reading focused.